Functional Dynamic Rehearsal Prototype
Over the last two weeks, our project group has been working to implement a preliminary version of our Dynamic Rehearsal project, spending days and nights programming in C# on the Microsoft Surface Simulator. Our goals were to implement high fidelity look to the project and a medium-low fidelity interaction model, and we made it part of the way there.
Because so much of the interface involves dynamically generating elements of the interface based on who is logged in to the system and what data is most recent, we decided to start with a one of the most basic and difficult elements of the interface: the timeline. For every rehearsal displayed by the interface, there is a timeline generated to display which actors are onstage at particular times, as well as where notes were taken on their performances. To work with this, we started from scratch, building a number of original classes (ie: “Rehearsal”, “Person”, “Timeline”, “Note” objects, etc) and then writing methods to dynamically generate an image.
The second aspect of the interface we chose to implements was the parsing of notes files. We have a computerized pen that will record the notes a director takes, and we need to be able to import that information into our program, creating new Note objects and assigning them to the right people and timestamps. Though the notes do not display at this point, we have been able to parse them in – very exciting.
Personally, I focused most on the design of the interface of the project, which has been one of the more disastrous aspects of this milestone. Without any data to work with, I drew up a basic interface; it was difficult, however, to visualize how it would look with an actual timeline, video, and notes. It wasn’t until last night (well, morning, really) that we finally returned from Thanksgiving break to integrate our work together, and at that point we realized we were working with a terribly ugly and confusing interface. (I think we started calling it “the ugliest interface we’ve ever made,” actually.) Currently, it looks like this in the simulator:
(We’re not sure where that grey border at the bottom is from, why the interface doesn’t fit on the screen, or why some notes are black. Debugging will be fun!)
So! For the next deadline, we’ve decided to overhaul the interface. One of the biggest hurdles to get past is making our interaction workspaces show up in ScatterView panels, which are able to be moved around the Surface with gestural interaction. I will be reorganizing this main interaction space into a smaller ScatterView panel, as well as designing a smaller “Recent Notes” panel and a singular “Note” panel so that users can pull a note from the list to view individually. Hopefully, this will make the application easier to use, more collaborative, and more aesthetically pleasing. Everything needs to be resdesigned before we can continue to program interactions though, so we’ll be jumping in to the design tonight. We’ll also be filming a rehearsal tonight (of the show I’m working on, Gibraltar, which opens Thursday) so that we can have some accurate, useful source material for our final presentation.
Overall, the programming and design of the project have both been difficult; I think every member of our team is struggling at every turn. We have made huge amounts of progress since our paper prototype, though, so I have hope that we will be able to both fix the problems we’re facing and continue to implement more interactivity. I’m excited to see how the next two weeks go, and I’m also excited to see more progress on the projects other groups are working on, for everyone’s presentations on their functional prototypes were great!
Tagged as dynamic rehearsal, prototype, tangible user interface + Categorized as TUI